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Spring seeding of tall fescue or sod?

Posted March 2, 2016
Updated March 3, 2016

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Thinking of spring seeding your lawn for fescue this year? Just be prepared to have your work cut out for you, because spring seeding in North Carolina's climate carries additional difficulties beyond fall seeding.

There’s a reason most people seed in the fall window of September until November: Spring-established tall fescue is more susceptible to drought, heat, fungal diseases, and weed encroachment.

Translation? If you’re going to seed in the spring, you might as well plan a budget to re-seed in the fall in order to get that healthy fescue you’re looking for. If you just can’t wait to have tall fescue, the better option is to install sod this spring.

Difficulties of Spring Seeding

Most of the lawns in North Carolina don’t have in-ground irrigation systems. This is fine for fall-seeded turfgrass, but not so much for spring seeding. Fescue seeds usually germinate in 10 to 21 days with adequate soil moisture and suitable (Fall) soil temperatures. With Spring temperatures, expect a longer germination period along with more irrigation requirements than what is required in the fall.

Since seeding in the Spring can slow germination, thus resulting in slower root establishment, weeds become a major issue. Any North Carolinian knows that crabgrass can be a major drawback, bullying fescue and stealing away moisture, nutrients, and light. And, it’s not just weeds to worry about - fungal diseases are a big reason spring seeding of tall fescue isn’t recommended. Young, immature (read as: weak) grass plants are more susceptible to diseases. And we haven’t even touched on potential drought conditions or heat severity, all of which usually adds up to reseeding in the fall.

Sod Instead

Of course, you can have your fescue and avoid most of these issues by installing sod. Sod can be installed by the homeowner or professionally year round.

This story was written for our sponsor, the North Carolina Sod Producers Association -- Great quality, great price, and a commitment to community.

This promotion is supported in part by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.


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